Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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In this documentary, written and directed by Michael Pack, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tells his life story, beginning with his birth in 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia, where his family spoke the creole language of Gullah. His mother would have four children by the time she was 20, and his father left the family early on. Later, after their home burned down, the family would move to Savannah, Georgia. Thomas speaks of the difference between rural poverty and urban poverty, indicating that the former was to be preferred. His mother, who worked as a maid, took Thomas and his brother to live with the boys’ grandparents, who lived in a nice area of Savannah.
Thomas’ grandfather was illiterate, but taught Thomas and his brother discipline and a good work ethic. Believing he was called to be a priest, Thomas enrolled at Conception Seminary College at age 16, where he was the only African American. He would leave he seminary after he heard a fellow student make an ugly comment about Martin Luther King Jr. after he was shot. When he returned to his grandparent’s home, his grandfather showed him the door, telling him he was no longer welcome there.
Thomas would enroll at the College of the Holy Cross, which was founded in 1843 by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Worcester, Massachusetts.  It was there that he helped found the Black Student Union and got involved with a group of Black Marxists. He went on to Yale Law School, got married and had a son. The marriage lasted only thirteen years before ending in divorce. Thomas was noticeably uncomfortable discussing his first marriage in the film. He would later marry Virginia Lamp, who appears in the film, in 1997. Continue reading

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Reflections on the Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage

CarnacCharleston, The Rebel Flag and Gay Marriage by Tammy Pence

Do you remember Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent? He would make diverse statements and ‘magically’ open an envelope to tell you the answer as to how they tied together.

I’ve been mulling over these three things, and believe they reflect how Christians should respond to the recent Supreme Court decision. In case you’ve been having a screen-fast (abstaining from using TV, phone, computer screens) here’s a short synopsis from Allen West:

…. five justices on the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) redefined what marriage is in America and also found the time to violate the concept of federalism. They decided that an individual’s behavioral choice was grounds to create a new “right” in the U.S. Constitution. … The Court used Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to justify its argument, which reads: Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

It will be interesting to see how the gay agenda proceeds from here, now that they feel powerfully affirmed. At one time in recent history they felt oppressed. But now will they take their power to oppress others or will they use their past experience to bring healing and unity, not boycotts and harassment? We shall see. Mark Oppenheimer’s recent article in Time magazine entitled, “Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions” might be a sample of coming attractions.

But take a deep breath! Our calling as Christians hasn’t changed one iota, and is not dependent upon circumstances or the government or its laws. See Tim Brister’s article, “How Christians Live in Post-Christendom”.

We were given a horrible yet wonderful example in the murders in Charleston, SC. What were the families and community’s reactions to their loved ones being gunned down? The members of the media were salivating, hoping to see protests, riots, looting and violence; these were previous responses to people being killed by white police officers.

But what did we see happen in Charleston? People gathering in churches to pray together and support one another; lamenting the loss of loved ones together. An Outpouring of Love, Grace, Peace and even Forgiveness.

The media didn’t get their expected story, so they had to create it. Enter the Confederate flag controversy, along with the usual anti-gun protests. All of a sudden the focus is taken off of families grieving together and put onto a controversy. (By the way, are there any news stations that just report the news, not just spend the entire day hammering on one news story?)

Diversion from focusing on the good is a classic tool of the devil. It even happens in churches – you could be sitting in a meeting, excited about setting the vision for the future, when someone chirps up to get you off track onto controversies within the church. Next thing you know, hours have gone by, you’re deflated and tired, and never once talked about the church’s vision.

God is still sovereign (Proverbs 21:1 ~ “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.”). We as Christians are still to be salt and light, regardless of circumstances and current controversies: Speaking the truth in love – not wavering from Biblical truth but continuing to love our neighbors as ourselves. While giving the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches to us about the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. In verse 16 He says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”


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Written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

  • Top 10 Quotes from the Dissenting Justices on Same-Sex Marriage. Thanks to Trevin Wax for compiling these quotes.
  • We’ve Been Here Before: Lessons for the Marriage Debate from the Pro-Life Movement. Russell Moore writes “The pro-life movement’s victories were only possible because its champions understood that legal consensus is never the final word. Imagine how much different the cause for life and dignity would look today if that first generation of pro-life advocates decided that being on the wrong side of the Supreme Court and the wrong side of history was just too high a price to pay. Thank God that was not them, and God forbid it should be us. Let’s follow their lead onward.”
  • So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity. John Piper writes “What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.”
  • The Briefing Special Edition: Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage. Albert Mohler offers his thoughts on the ruling that redefines marriage.
  • Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage. The Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission released “Here We Stand”, a statement of dissent signed by a number of Christian leaders including Bryan Chapell, Trip Lee, Mark Dever, Kevin DeYoung, Albert Mohler, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Russell Moore, Rosaria Butterfield, D.A. Carson, J.I. Packer and many more.
  • Why the Church Should Neither Cave Nor Panic about the Decision on Gay Marriage. Russell Moore writes “The Court now has disregarded thousands of years of definition of the most foundational unit of society, and the cultural changes here will be broad and deep. So how should the church respond?”
  • But What Does the Bible Say? Kevin DeYoung writes “The cultural breezes are blowing against us. The worldly winds are stiff in our faces. But the hard parts of the Bible are no less true for being less popular. The Bible says what it says, so let us be honest enough to say whether we think what the Bible says is right or wrong.” See my review of Kevin’s book What Does the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality?
  • Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage. Albert Mohler writes “The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a five to four decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all fifty states.”
  • CBMW’s Official response to the SCOTUS Ruling. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood writes “The U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges tragically continues the culture’s shift away from biblical wisdom. As the board and leadership of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, we are not moving an inch from our fundamental commitments to biblical marriage, to manhood and womanhood, and to the God-created natural family.”
  • The Only Decision That Matters. Hershael York writes “Because of this Supreme Court ruling Christians who have contented themselves with a nebulous theology and a generic commitment to the parts of the Bible they deem palatable will now be pressed to probe the Scriptures and their own presuppositions like never before. Congregations who have survived on a cultural predisposition toward churches are about to discover what it means to thrive on Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ. Believers who have worked to keep their faith separate from the rest of their lives will discover that they can no longer be secret disciples because they are going to be asked bluntly and sometimes with great hostility.”
  • A Prophetic Word from Eleven Years Ago about Today. Denny Burk writes “Eleven years ago, John Piper delivered a message about “Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage.” The message made an impression on me, and for many years now I’ve been reading a portion of this sermon every semester to my undergraduate hermeneutics students.”
  • D.A. Carson on The Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision. Listen to Tony Reinke’s interview with D.A. Carson on the “Ask Pastor John” podcast.
  • Is Gay Now the New Black? In this four-minute video, Voddie Baucham explains the similarities between the Civil Rights and so-called Gay Rights Movement, while highlighting the significant differences between ethnicity and sexual orientation.
  • How Did We Get Here? Desensitize, Normalize, Demonize, Legalize, (Victimize)! Caleb Kolstad writesFor many decades the LGBT movement has worked tirelessly in effort to fundamentally transform America’s conscience with regards to sexuality and gender.  This has been achieved, in large part, with direct assistance from Hollywood.”
  • What Your Church Needs to Know – And Do – About the Court’s Marriage Ruling. Erik Stanley writes “In coming days, the threat from these non-discrimination laws will materialize in numerous ways as same-sex couples marry. But there are proactive steps your church can take to protect itself.”
  • Four Ways Christians Need to Respond in Love to the Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “One of the chief ways Christians influence the culture and shine the light of Christ is by their love. Here are four ways.”
  • John MacArthur’s Letter to Master’s Seminary Alumni. MacArthur writes to fellow pastors to help them frame the issue in a biblical way. He writes “In the final analysis, your greatest contribution to your people will be to show patience and a steady confidence in the sovereignty of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the authority of Scripture. Turn their eyes toward the Savior, and remind them that when He returns, all will be made right.”


  • I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix. Barack Obama (April 17, 2008)
  • What did John need to see in the crazed, out-of-control, spiraling downward world of Rome? The occupied throne of heaven: Rev.4:1-2 Us too! Scotty Smith
  • America is changing, the Word of God is not. Burk Parsons
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Albert Mohler
  •  Marriage was not invented by men but by God. R.C. Sproul
  • There is only one power strong enough to turn around our nation, the soul-saving, life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Steven Lawson
  • On the wrong side of history? We started on the wrong side of history—a Roman Empire and a cross. Rome’s dead and Jesus is fine.  Russell Moore
  • God is love, but He also defines what love is. We don’t have the license to define love according to our standards. Francis Chan